OCCIDENTAL MINDORO, January 23, 2023 – Farmers of Mabunga Vegetable Vendors Association (MVVA), beneficiaries of the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program, recorded 8,631 kilograms (kg) of assorted vegetable harvest for the second cycle of production, earning a Php 355,340.00 net income and securing nutritious food for their families.
Table 1. MVVA vegetable production (May to November 2022)
MVVA has 32 beneficiaries who rely on vegetable production as their primary livelihood. Eight (8) members own lands for production and the other members contribute by providing labor on planting, harvesting, and marketing. The FA is one of the recipients of the Vegetable Production Project FY 2021 of the SAAD Program to boost vegetable production and access in the community.
Through the project, the group recorded a savings of up to Php 137,300.00 for food and labor expenses as they used a portion of their harvest equivalent to 2,510.5kg of assorted vegetables for food consumption for their families and for farm workers.
Blessed harvest, blessing others
MVVA farmers not only secure food for their families, but also extend their harvests to the indigenous people in their community.
Creating a learning space for the farmers, the chairperson conducts informal farming lectures on her gained experience from the field such as proper crop placement to prevent pollen transmission and crop rotation to care for the soil and diversify vegetable products. Further, she plans on lending a portion of her land to the farmers with no farm areas as she was able to expand her plantation from the fruit of her last year’s vegetable harvest.
“Yung mga katutubo na walang lupa, puwede silang magtanim doon [sa bakanteng lupa] para mas lumaki rin ang production ng samahan at kumita rin [ang mga katutubo]“ (IP farmers who do not have lands may use the available lot to boost the association’s production and provide livelihood to the farmers), Ms. Nelly Alcantara, MVVA chairperson shared.
Utilizing integrated farming
Through the FA’s earnings, the group now also produces seeds, pesticides, and fertilizers to expand their plantation gradually and sustain large production of vegetables and other high-value crops.
According to Ms. Alcantara, the group has cultivated small portions of their land, with a 2-hectare (ha) consolidated area before SAAD Program’s intervention as they could not afford to cover larger production costs.
“Noon, tama na ‘yung isang tudling na pagtataniman namin dahil wala kaming pambili ng mga binhi,” the Chairperson said.
Through the SAAD Program, hand-in-hand with the Municipal Agriculture Office of Abra de Ilog, the group received inputs and farm equipment, enabling them to cover an additional 3ha of production for larger yield.
“Dati kakaunti lang ang naani namin. Pero ngayon, malaki na rin ang inasenso [namin],” (We were only able to harvest a few vegetables before. But now, we have improved significant.) Ms. Alcantara shared.
She also mentioned that the association is eyeing to expand their production area threefolds, for up to 15ha to increase their harvest.
Currently, there are few of the members engaged in watermelon and onion production as part of their crop rotation strategy while preparing for the next cropping season of vegetables for 2023. This includes purchasing vegetable seeds and planning their crop rotation for healthier yield.
In November 2022, following the advice of former National SAAD Program Director Myer G. Mula, the group received a Swine Production Project FY 2022 worth Php 992,000.00 as a complimentary livelihood activity to vegetable production.
This is an integrated farming approach utilizing rejected vegetables as animal food, reducing production waste and cutting operation costs for swine raising.
Table 2. Swine Production Project FY 2022 awarded to MVVA
Eleven pigs are currently pregnant and four (4) of them are expected to give birth in the first week of April. Ms. Alcantara shared that the group will be experimenting on composting pig manure to be used as organic fertilizer for their vegetable plantation.
The association targets to start their production cycle in February. Preparations such as germinating vegetable seeds, and construction of trellises are on going.
MVVA is situated in Sitio Bungahan, Brgy. Cabacao, Abra de Ilog composed of mixed members of Tagalog, Ilocano, and Indigenous People (IP) farmers, focusing on producing high-value crops such as pakbet vegetables like ampalaya, talong, upo, sitaw, sili, and kamatis (tomato). The group became part of the SAAD Program in 2021, receiving Php 950,000.00 worth of Vegetable Production Project inputs. ###
Writer: Dianne Francis A. Sy-Gorembalem, DA-SAAD MIMAROPA Information Officer
Source: Jhonzell G. Panganiban, DA-SAAD MIMAROPA Area Coordinator – Paluan/Abra de Ilog
(For more information on MVVA, see https://saad.da.gov.ph/saadventures/saadventures-vol-3-issue-no-8, pp 25-29)